INSTITUTE FOR SELF ACTIVE EDUCATION, inc.    Institute for Self Active Education Logo

"Play is the self-active representation of the inner life from inner impulse and necessity. The child who is absorbing from his environment materials with which he is building his own world clarifies and orders his own experience through its constant expression in play" (Froebel, 1904).

The process of self-active play is rooted in the belief that adults as well as children have a developmental need to experience our own creativity through self-expression, self active play and art making. The Institute for Self Active Education (ISAE) is a non-profit charitable organization established in 1980. As a community of practice it promotes self active play as a tool for encouraging and awakening the creative potential in children, teachers, and parents to improve the quality of early childhood education.

The Hands, Heart, and Mind® Workshops sprang forth as a way of inspiring children, teachers, and parents to experience the benefits of self-constructed knowledge and revitalizing the human spirit across the human life cycle using open ended play materials.

The use of open ended materials as a vital component in tapping the creative process prompted the creation of the Reusable Resource Association (RRA). RRA is an environmental program that promotes business and educational partnerships within a community in order to build environmental awareness issues and attain high quality play materials which promote creativity. RRA provides training and technical assistance for creating Reusable Resource Centers.

The Institute for Self Active Education plays an integral role in helping state affiliates focus on the importance of play (Florida Play Symposium). One key component of sponsoring a Play Symposium is its approach to bring together interdisciplinary community wide play advocacy.

The outgrowth from the Hands, Heart, and Mind® workshops has led to the development of a Play Leadership Training Program. This training is a three tiered program open to those who desire to understand the impact of play on human development at a more in-depth level.

ISAE has now expanded its scope to support creative artistic expression throughout the human life cycle through Discovery Retreats.


The Institute for Self Active Education (ISAE) is a community of practice devoted to awakening the creative potential of children and adults through hands-on self active play and art making with open ended materials.


ISAE provides professional development workshops, play leadership training programs and discovery retreats to support others in their pursuit of their creative potential.

Principles of Self Active Play:

Principle 1:
Play is a source of creative energy, a positive force and safe context for constructing meaningful self-knowledge and revitalizing the human spirit across the continuum of the human life-cycle.

Principle 2:
Hands-on play and art making with open ended materials reconnect the individual with earlier stages of human development, spontaneously balancing and strengthening, hope, will, purpose, competence, fidelity, love, care, and wisdom.

Principle 3:
The play space is a state of being which is self-constructed or co-constructed based on the players' previous experiences and their perceptions of the levels of safety and trust leading into the play space.

Principle 4:
Experiences within the play space elicits strong affect toward the play space such as feelings of protectiveness, a yearning to return, and desire for further exploration of higher levels of understanding and self-awareness.

Principle 5:
The creative energy released within the play space is accelerated as players assume new pretend roles and as players thrill in discovering "Who will I be next?" and "What will I do next?"

Principle 6:
Play is a source of energy for rekindling love, passion, intimate relationships with other people and between players. These feelings are pervasive not just isolated to the play space but rather move forward as the player moves beyond the play space in their realities.

Principle 7:
Play's intrinsic qualities include spontaneity of the spirit, thinking deeply, feeling intensely and building a trust in one's intuitive self.

Board of Directors:
Walter F. Drew, Ed.D., Founder and Executive Director
Kitty Drew, Founder and Director of Operations
Marcia L. Nell, Ph.D.,
     Director of Professional Development

Thomas R. Nell, J.D., Legal Council
Henry Olds, Ed.D.
Baji Rankin, Ed.D.
Deb Bush